FBI Releases Corruption Probe Files Into Late Boston Mayor

Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, in a 2013 file photo (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, in a 2013 file photo (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The FBI has released documents related to a corruption investigation into late Mayor Thomas Menino that ultimately proved unfounded.

Twenty-nine pages of documents into the 2002-03 probe were posted Monday on the FBI's website after a public information request.

The investigation was prompted by comments Menino made on "Boston 24/7," a 2002 ABC News documentary.

Menino appears to threaten a lawyer for Sprint that he'll award a lucrative city contract to rival AT&T unless the telecommunications company donates $25,000 to the mayor's youth initiatives.

"You got a problem," Menino said, according to news reports at the time the documentary aired. "AT&T is sponsoring a whole summer program with me, and you want Sprint to come in and you did diddly-dink."

The FBI launched the corruption probe in June 2002 after a story in the Boston Herald questioned the appropriateness of the conversation.

The documents state that federal prosecutors initially believed the case had "prosecutive merit" and that the FBI conducted interviews and reviewed the city's contracts with Sprint and AT&T.

At the time, Menino and the Sprint lawyer said the conversation was just bluster for the cameras. The state inspector general's office also subsequently determined no actual city contract was at stake.

No charges were filed and the FBI closed the case in September 2003. The documents released Monday do not specify why the investigation did not lead to charges.

Menino died in 2014 after declining not to seek re-election as he battled cancer. He spent two decades in office and was Boston's longest-serving mayor.


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